When selecting a stud dog for your prize bitch, or when purchasing that female puppy to expand your breeding program, what do you look for? Assuming that you are pleased by the phenotype, what else is important? To some, it's the number of champions in the pedigree. Others are impressed by breed wins, group placements or Best in Show rosettes. No doubt, stellar conformation is important. But what about underlying physical health and temperament issues?
How old is the dog you are breeding to? What is his veterinary and breeding history? How old were his parents when they died and what did they die from? Are there any performance dogs in the background? Any dogs physically and mentally sound enough to have earned obedience, agility or earthdog degrees?
Did the parents of that cute little bitch puppy you are about to purchase have their hips x-rayed and submitted to OFA? Why did her breeder select a particular stud? Is mom a healthy, sound producer?
And what about a stable temperament? Are you getting dangerously close to breeding to a dog who lacks optimum Norfolk attitude or buying a puppy out of a bitch who is less than confident and outgoing?
The choices you make today will be reflected in the health of the breed for generations to come. Responsible breeders care for more than what a dog looks like on the outside they care for what's inside as well.
It is the responsibility of those of us who have chosen to breed Norfolks to safeguard their genetic heritage. If we who profess to love this breed don't care, who will?
ANTIC, March, 2003
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